A 30-year-old church in Portsmouth in the US state of Virginia has been bought by the Swaminarayan sect and will soon be converted into a Hindu temple.
The Ahmedabad-based Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan has already transformed eight churches across the world, including five in the US, into temples. These include churches in California, Luiseville, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles and Ohio in the US, besides churches in London and Bolton near Manchester in the UK.
According to a report in the Times of India, the sect has also acquired a 125-year-old property in Toronto, Canada.
“It is under the guidance of our spiritual head Purshottampriyadas Swami that the 30-year-old church was acquired to be refurbished into a Swaminarayan temple. Not many changes would be mandated in the church at Portsmouth, as it was already a spiritual place of another faith. This would be the first temple for Haribhakts in Virginia,” said Bhagwatpriyadas Swami, mahant of the sansthan.
Sources in the Swaminarayan temple said that around 10,000 Gujaratis live in Virginia. Spread over five acres with the building taking 18,000 square feet, the church’s parking space can accommodate 150 four-wheelers. The church was bought at an estimated cost of $ 1.6 million (Rs 11.22 crores).